Headaches after you have had your baby

Headaches are a common complaint and the majority of them are mild and self-limiting.

However, there are some serious causes of headaches that need to be recognised and treated promptly.

Headaches due to tiredness and stress are common in the postnatal period and these can be managed with simple analgesia, rest, hydration and reassurance.

  • Severe headache/worst headache ever
  • Rash
  • Sudden onset
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Postural (worse when lies down or sits up)
  • Neck stiffness or pain
  • Drowsiness or confusion Visual or hearing disturbance
  • Any loss of consciousness Nausea or vomiting
  • Any weakness in a part of the body
  • Symptoms/signs of preeclampsia ( raised blood pressure, swelling in face, arms or legs, new problems with eye sight)
  • Fever

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department, phone 999 or call your local Maternity Unit immediately.


You have taken simple pain relief in the last two hours (e.g. paracetamol and or ibuprofen), you have been drinking plenty of water and you have tried to rest and the headache has not got any better or has got worse.

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery, your community midwife service or call NHS 111 - dial 111

New headache with none of the symptoms in Red box:

  • Take simple analgesia (such as paracetamol and ibuprofen), rest and drink plenty of water.

Self care

Continue care at home. If you are still concerned contact your Community Midwife or call NHS 111 – dial 111

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